Young indigenous people happily using their mobile phones

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, including when interacting with different markets. Despite this, poor customer service, irresponsible selling practices, unresponsive or uncontactable telcos, unfair treatment of vulnerable consumers, and information asymmetry persists in the telecommunications market, continuing to cause harm to communications consumers. While COVID-19 lockdowns and natural disasters have contributed to poor customer service and consumer detriment in the past few years, these are ongoing and pervasive issues. Access to suitable financial hardship arrangements, supports and complaints mechanisms for consumers experiencing vulnerability remains problematic, and consumers still have difficulties getting their authorised advocates recognised by the industry.

To make the market fairer for consumers, ACCAN will continue to advocate for significant improvements in telco customer service and complaints handling. We will work for reforms to deliver stronger consumer protections to underpin a fair and competitive telecommunications market that delivers for all consumers and small businesses. Guided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, we will support fairer communications outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers. We will provide a strong evidence base to support measures to improve telco performance, increase transparency and accountability, and rectify systemic issues. We will advocate for reforms to support positive consumer outcomes, and fair treatment of customers by telco providers – especially for those experiencing vulnerability or at risk of falling into hardship. We will call for an independent information service to address information asymmetry in the telecommunications market, and will advocate for products and payment options best suited to consumer needs. Taking these steps will result in a fairer telecommunications market for consumers.